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Discussion Starter #1
Hi INFP folks,

I've been wondering if you are prone to having emotional affairs. Basically an emotional affair is a romantic emotional attachment to someone else, often without a physical relationship, although if the emotional affair progresses long enough it can end up in a physical affair. Emotional affairs do not have to be mutual; they can be one sided, similar to unrequited love, although often they do involve an intense romantic relationship with another person. According to relationship experts, most emotional affairs begin fairly innocently, usually as friendships, and evolve into something deeper. The worst emotional affairs obviously are when one or both parties are already in committed relationships other people (almost no good ever comes from that).

I think as INFPs we probably are more prone to emotional affairs than most other types (the other NFs would probably be having this issue too), because generally we are highly empathetic and want to live romantic lives and are suckers for romance. So, it's easy for our caring nature to evolve into something more than just friendly caring for another person. I've had a 2 emotional affairs in the past 20 years; neither went anywhere (no physical affair, significant others never knew) but caused me a great deal of emotional pain and guilt. I didn't see either one coming, and once I was in it, it was too late to step out cleanly. In both cases, the relationship sort of just faded away and nothing explicit was ever said about what had happened between us, but literally took YEARS for me to get over both of them.

If you have ever had an emotional affair that ended, how did you extricate yourself from it? Did it take forever to heal yourself, or did you get over it pretty quickly?

And, has anyone have an emotional affair that actually transformed into a long-term committed relationship?
 

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The only time I've been in love was in this exact manner, longing for someone I couldn't have. And it did take me a long time to get over it; probably the only thing that got me over it at all was time spent apart.

Someone close to me has been experiencing this her entire adult life and it's caused all kinds of grief. Lately she's come to accept that she has a polyamorous tendency and the ability to fully love more than one person at a time. That might be your orientation too! If you talk to your partner, it's possible that you can come to an understanding, like she and her partner have.
 

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Well, that's how my partner and I paired up; we just met and experienced this whole emotional affair thing :) We are both INFP's, and both of us did have a couple of emotional affairs which were only one-sided for me, and sometimes not just one-sided for her, so it's kind of a really interesting thing, I think, now that there's actually a name for it to make it 'materialize' in my head :p
 

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INFP's have a habit of idealizing the world around them in order to cope with reality. unfortunately this is not a healthy coping mechanism, even in the situation of two people maintaining a romantic relationship in that manner. as soon as conflict occurs, one or both partners will be overwhelmed in their fear.

that's not to say that two people can't get together as a result of such a situation. but maintaining that sort of thought pattern of idealizing and becoming attached to other individuals is unhealthy, in and of itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
INFP's have a habit of idealizing the world around them in order to cope with reality. unfortunately this is not a healthy coping mechanism, even in the situation of two people maintaining a romantic relationship in that manner. as soon as conflict occurs, one or both partners will be overwhelmed in their fear.

that's not to say that two people can't get together as a result of such a situation. but maintaining that sort of thought pattern of idealizing and becoming attached to other individuals is unhealthy, in and of itself.
Suremarc, you make a good point. I do have a tendency to idealize people I like and that has caused me lots of grief over the years. In fact I think it also has made me much more guarded in who I decide to "really" like, and why my circle of true friends is so small. I also have a tendency to want my life to work out like a good Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte novel: plucky heroine finds her true love (terribly flawed but with a heart of gold) and live happily ever after. Life so rarely works out that way! But it still is an irresistible premise (for me, at least).
 

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Suremarc, you make a good point. I do have a tendency to idealize people I like and that has caused me lots of grief over the years. In fact I think it also has made me much more guarded in who I decide to "really" like, and why my circle of true friends is so small. I also have a tendency to want my life to work out like a good Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte novel: plucky heroine finds her true love (terribly flawed but with a heart of gold) and live happily ever after. Life so rarely works out that way! But it still is an irresistible premise (for me, at least).
haha, i know that feeling to a great extent. i've had a bit of a disaster in the past year after falling for a certain girl.

american society is so strongly centered on hedonistic principles. we're so strongly oriented around doing things that feel good. take for example pornography addiction in the U.S., or even american music nowadays (which only seems to be about love, sex, or drugs), et cetera. the trap in american society is that, if we aren't doing something that feels good, then something's wrong with us. mothers may often be worried when their child is sitting alone, doing their own thing, because they're not doing something that feels good. they're not having fun and laughing with other peers, like they "should" be doing.

it takes a long time for most of us in the U.S. to realize that pleasure-seeking isn't really all that important. so what if you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend? that doesn't mean something's wrong with you. just because you're alone doesn't mean you're lonely​.
 

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INFP's have a habit of idealizing the world around them in order to cope with reality. unfortunately this is not a healthy coping mechanism, even in the situation of two people maintaining a romantic relationship in that manner. as soon as conflict occurs, one or both partners will be overwhelmed in their fear.

that's not to say that two people can't get together as a result of such a situation. but maintaining that sort of thought pattern of idealizing and becoming attached to other individuals is unhealthy, in and of itself.
I hope I'm not intruding here as INFJ posting in your forum, but am curious - what do you think it is, specific to INFPs in particular, that would create the pattern you describe above? My mate is INFP and and to some extent I think something similar was present (from her) with us at first, though maybe a bit more complicated than described here. Anyway, I haven't sourced it to her being INFP, rather to enneagram 9 and other related stuff about her childhood and life experiences.

So I find myself really curious: what could it be about INFP cognitive processes etc that would yield what you're describing?
 

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I hope I'm not intruding here as INFJ posting in your forum, but am curious - what do you think it is, specific to INFPs in particular, that would create the pattern you describe above? My mate is INFP and and to some extent I think something similar was present (from her) with us at first, though maybe a bit more complicated than described here. Anyway, I haven't sourced it to her being INFP, rather to enneagram 9 and other related stuff about her childhood and life experiences.

So I find myself really curious: what could it be about INFP cognitive processes etc that would yield what you're describing?
the INFP's dominant and auxiliary functions are Fi and Ne, respectively. by extroverting our intuition to support our introverted feeling, or emotions, we create a reality based on our intuition in such a manner that protects our feelings. it's our preferred coping mechanism, though, just like any other coping strategy, has its faults.
 

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I thought this was more about being infatuated with someone without them ever knowing about it. The person in question doesn't even have to be someone I actually know, my imagination will make up the rest. It revolves around spending a lot of time daydreaming only about a form of limerance, I spend weeks in this state and tbh, I enjoy it, I enjoy it so much that I neglect the world around me or live in a semi-conscious state dipping back in to these romantic fantasies. I have done this for as long as I can remember. Wasting time becoming emotionally immersed in these head romances that are just made up and elaborated and all romantic juice is squeezed out and to make it incredibly idyllic. Ill spend time away from people just so I can indulge these fantasies until something weird starts happening, I become depressed that it might never happen in the same way or similar way, I think I crave a deep sense of intimacy with somebody I am attracted to, it's missing from my life and so my mind will recreate what I desire without me actually getting it in the real world. Sometimes it's like i'm going through a mini-break up in my fantasies, sometimes it feels good that my mind crush is dying down as it has been the center of my inner universe, so much so, it makes me sad or relieved that my mind is letting go from that sense of inner wanting of something that what made me so in false love to awareness that it's not in fact real. Sometimes I drop one mind subject to another to sustain a sense of inner romantic passion, to keep that going. It feels like a dependency and because I do enjoy it for awhile, I keep doing it. So, um, yeah, that's kind of what happens. It's often like an obsession.
 

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@mushr00m I can really relate! I did this for quite a while, first with someone in middle school. That "obsession" lasted about 2 years. The next one was worse, lasting about 5 years. I would fantasize and almost live off the pain of longing for something I couldn't have. My bullshit angst has since subsided, thank the gourds. But I have still never had a reciprocal love relationship with anyone. The only interests I've had have waned after getting to know the person beyond the superficial. Idealizing people is such a terrible thing. :(
 

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I know so many people who do this its not funny

They get really attached to a person they barely know with so much intensity. Then they are equally intensely depressed because the feelings are not reciprocate (because the person doesn't even know).

I always called 'the poets syndrome' because I swear every single famous poet was inspired by these intense emotions.



Unfortunately the only thing that it inspires now is shitty facebook statuses
 

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@mushr00m I can really relate! I did this for quite a while, first with someone in middle school. That "obsession" lasted about 2 years. The next one was worse, lasting about 5 years. I would fantasize and almost live off the pain of longing for something I couldn't have. My bullshit angst has since subsided, thank the gourds. But I have still never had a reciprocal love relationship with anyone. The only interests I've had have waned after getting to know the person beyond the superficial. Idealizing people is such a terrible thing. :(
Yup, that't the problem is that it is just a fantasy and idk, maybe think it's actually stopping someone from experiencing real intimacy. As a suggestion, perhaps look into why you do this, I realized that part of it personally was having certain expectations, imagining it a certain way and of course the reality is that a real intimate relationship is going to be imperfect in some aspects. And then another thing was feeling a lack of intimacy irl and so would make up for that through fantasizing. But, yeah it sucks alot, especially when it's just become a hard ingrained habit, almost a way to cope with life. Thanks a lot for your understanding. ;)
 

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I also apologize for invading your thread as an INFJ. This subject is currently active in my life (I think!) and so it is compelling to me.

I think (it can be so hard to tell when both parties are cloaking) that something is happening between myself and an older INFP I have frequent contact with. This has been drawn out over two years. He started off reserved and now shares little bits of his life with me (and I with him) and he makes time to talk to me. He can't look me in the eye for more than a split second, and gets awkward, which makes me wonder how he views me in his head. Otherwise, he's a perfect gentleman.

I have been handling this as a friendship, since he is married. I have no desire to mess up his life. What should I do or not do to make sure this all stays friendly, maybe a bit close, but does not cross a line? I like the friendship and wish to keep it.

(My INTP sweetheart of many years knows of my tendency to have intense friendships, so there is no secrecy on my end.)

Thank you for humoring me. :)
 

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I had an emotional affair on my on-and-off ex-boyfriend with my current boyfriend, for the last few weeks of my relationship with my ex. My relationship with my ex was somewhat dead by that point, however, and we basically hated each other by then. But knowing that my current boyfriend and I would probably start dating right after helped me to break things off with my ex for good.

I kind of had an emotional affair on my current boyfriend, with one of my friends. However I then realized I was being an idiot and the friend and I just decided to be friends.

I think INFPs' issues with decisiveness can contribute to this ("do I REALLY want to be with this one person, even though I love them?") Also our tendency to get really close to people we care about, which other types may not understand.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I think INFPs' issues with decisiveness can contribute to this ("do I REALLY want to be with this one person, even though I love them?")
Thismustbetheplace, excellent point, and this is totally a weakness of mine, not only with relationships but life in general (do I want to quit my job or stay with it a little longer? Do I want to stay in this house or move? etc.). It can be completely emotionally draining to me and my family!

And I agree, I think due to the Fi most people really have no idea how much we care about them. We are extremely excellent at hiding deep emotions for self protection, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how the beloved one feels about us.
 

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Hmmmm I don't remember ever having an emotional affair (although my memory isn't the best and I'm trying to remember that hard), but recently and every now and then I wonder if I would be the type too. I mean, I don't believe in hating anyone and I do my best to love others. I think this causes me to see most people as beautiful people and then I just want to know more about them and connect with them (not necessarily romantically). Sometimes I will form lots of little crushes, but, from one particular experience in particular, I've learned that I don't need to be with someone in order to be happy and so far, for a few years now (like 6 or 7) that has allowed me to keep any crushes from becoming anywhere near an obsession and it lets me keep crushes in perspective. That being said, I do have a tendency to become attracted to lots of people (especially when I am feeling lonely lol) and I am a natural flirt (playful, silly, sometimes ridiculous flirting) as well so I am not completely sure of myself, I suppose (I mean "Am I the type to emotionally cheat on someone?"). Sometimes I may just like people too much lol
 

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The way to "beat" this is by deciding to love yourself as well-when you do, you need not depend on secretly idealizing an "impossible" love, because it's not fair to you, and lovely you deserves much better than clinging on to an emotional relationship that really isn't there, and in many cases isn't meant to be.

If you like someone "emotionally" this much, let her/him know that you are interested in getting to know them better; if you can't act on your feelings (whether by fear or the impossibility of a relationship for any myriad of reasons) don't torture yourself over something that isn't meant to be, because ultimately, you deserve better.

Wanted to add that you can be a romantic INFP, and also not be clingy or emotionally dependent on others. :) You won't stop being yourself just for being wiser about your emotional attachments-after all, romance can be a beautiful thing, as long as it's handled with care and wisdom. Being romantic doesn't mean that you will get emotionally attached with every single person you may idealize. :)
 

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By making it real, is to confront and to work with whoever you have an emotional affairs with as a true relationship. Understand it from both side and make sure you receive feedback too and understand it, or at least acknowledge and accept it. Cos frankly, if you do not decide that set of values within your own mind, then you won't be able to find somebody and truly have a fulfilling relationship itself.... Yes, you can find a true love kind of relationship, but you gotta wake up! Even recently, I asked myself if I have ever fallen in love with somebody, and I realised that the answer to that was "yes". Yes, because I did not know, I just knew I liked the person quite a lot, but these days, I go by my gut instinct about someone, and make sure that I understand it myself. Even if there is a hint of liking someone, it does not go into a full blown relationship at all. As relationship takes much more work. But it can happen that way such that you can take a relationship to the next level.
 

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The thing about picturing being with people for INFPs is that the only way to survive is to be able to have loyalty to a god-like figure. In other, more tribal modern-day language, INFPs need to get off, and the only way they can get off is if they can almost worship the persons in their minds.
 
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